I’m back with a little bit more Texmex inspired by my recent trip back to the US and my home state of Texas!! While visiting I definitely indulged in my favorite — enchiladas!! But honestly the meal left me feeling crazy heavy and just not all that great after eating. I set out to create a similar version that is quick and easy to prepare and that didn’t contain tons of cheese. The results are this super yummy recipe for vegan skillet enchiladas!
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Making a dairy-free cheese sauce
I love cheese, but it unfortunately doesn’t always love me back so I’ve been trying to experiment with more plant-based alternatives and substitutes to incorporate into my diet. It doesn’t mean I give up cheese 100% but now I simply have other options to choose from as well. The base for this sauce is simply plant-based milk. Adding in some nutritional yeast works to give it a bit of cheesy flavor and using tapioca flour helps to provide the thick-like consistency you want in a cheese sauce.
Overall, I thought it worked well and had a great queso-like texture but I did feel like it didn’t have the overall “cheesy” flavor you usually expect from a cheese sauce. However adding in the pico definitely boosted the flavor. And I found it to be super tasty as a topping for the vegan skillet enchiladas.
Tapioca flour is generally popular as a thickener in vegan and vegetarian cooking and here it is used to thicken the cheese sauce. Tapioca is naturally gluten-free so it can also be used in baked goods to lend a chewy texture.
You may be more familiar with tapioca in the form of the small balls you find in tapioca pudding or the larger balls in bubble tea. Tapioca is made from the starch of cassava, also called yucca. You may be able to find it in your local grocery store, or consider buying it online from a store such as Amazon.
Meal prep this recipe
While the recipe for vegan skillet enchiladas may seem to have quite a few steps, it goes together in less than an hour. But if you are working with less time consider taking a few steps to prep ahead.
Make the cheese sauce
You can definitely make the cheese sauce ahead and then refrigerate it until you are ready to use it. Just be sure to leave out the pico de gallo until just before serving. When you reheat the cheese sauce, you may need to add a bit of milk if it’s too thick. Once it reaches the consistency you want, add the pico de gallo and you are ready to go.
Prep and cook the veggies for vegan enchilada skillet ahead
Cooking the veggies ahead will take you less than 15 minutes. Once they are ready, cool before covering with a lid and the store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook and serve. Heat them up in a pan until warm before layering them with the tortillas and enchilada sauce. By heating the veggies ahead you can be assured your vegan enchilada skillet will heat up more quickly on top of the stove.
Turn it into a casserole and cook in the oven
Another meal prep option is to completely cook the entire dish ahead of time but instead of layering in a skillet use a glass baking dish instead. Be sure to spray the glass baking dish well with cooking spray before adding the layers. Once you have it all ready to go, simply place it in the refrigerator or freezer until you are ready to cook and serve. If you decide to freeze, I suggest allowing it to thaw before cooking. Heat in a 350 degree F oven for 30-40 minutes or until hot in the center. When it’s ready, remove and top with cheese sauce.
Black Bean Vegan Skillet Enchiladas
- 1 T canola oil
- 1 medium zucchini small dice ( approx 1 cup)
- 1 cup frozen corn thawed
- 1 medium bell pepper small dice
- 1 medium onion small dice
- 1½ cup black or pinto beans
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 T chili powder
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp oregano
- 1½ cup enchilada sauce
- 10 corn tortillas*
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Vegan Cheese Sauce
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup cashew milk or almond milk
- 3 T nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp white vinegar
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 2 T tapioca flour
Pico de Gallo
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- 2 T cilantro chopped
- ½ cup red onion diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper deseeded and diced finely
- 1 T lime juice
Make the cheese sauce
- Combine all the ingredients for the cheese sauce in a pan and heat over medium-low heat. Stir frequently with a wire whisk to mix the ingredients well. Bring to a low boil, whisking frequently. Once it begins to bubble, cook for 2 minutes or until it reaches a thick, queso-like consistency. Add salt and pepper as necessary. When ready, set aside.
Prepare the casserole
- Heat canola oil in medium skillet. When oil is hot, add onion and bell pepper. Cook until it begins to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add zucchini and cook an additional 2-3 minutes. Add in corn, black beans and the seasonings, paprika through oregano. Add ¼ cup of water and cook 5 minutes to allow flavors to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Place enchilada sauce in a small sauce pan and heat on medium-low until hot.
- Cut the corn tortillas into 8 wedges.
- Use a large skillet sprayed with baking spray. Spoon in a light layer of enchilada sauce.
- Top with 1/3 of the cut tortillas, overlapping if necessary.
- Layer 1/3 of veggies on top of the tortillas.
- Top the veggies with about 1/3 of remaining enchilada sauce.
- Repeat layers two more times starting with the tortillas, then veggies and enchilada sauce Be sure to end with veggies and enchilada sauce.
- Cover with lid, place over medium-low heat and cook for 15 minutes or until heated through. When heated, turn-off and leave covered until remaining ingredients are ready.
- While the enchilada skillet is cooking, make the pico de gallo.
- When the enchilada skillet is heated, turn off and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. Reheat up the cheese sauce on low heat. When hot, add in half the pico de gallo and stir to combine.
- When ready, pour the cheese sauce over the skillet enchiladas and then top with the remaining pico de gallo.
Did you make these vegan skillet enchiladas? What did you think of the recipe? Please tell me in the comments about your cooking and eating experience! And if you liked this recipe, consider giving it a 5-star rating!
Here’s some of my other Tex-mex favorites!